I am arranging a bouquet of flowers in memory of my grandfather, who died in his sleep around 5 am this morning. It is something I used to bring him, and something he loved about the garden my grandmother created, and so it feels right. It is a riot of pink and purple and blue and white, and about half of it comes from my garden. It’s my way of mourning, but if he’s still seeing, I hope he knows it’s for him.
While we are all shocked at how fast the leukemia progressed, all of my family came to visit in the last few months and he had lots of love and time with them when he was relatively able to enjoy it. Everyone who needed to come, had come. On Monday when I was with him last, he lost the use of his legs almost entirely. He kept falling because he kept trying to get up by himself, unwilling or unable to accept that he no longer could. We were making arrangements for a much higher level of care, knowing how much he would hate his future of confinement to chairs and beds, and needing help with every little thing.
So in a way, I am glad. My biggest fear lately was that he would die alone, when one of us was not there. We were not there, but a hospice nurse was there. Somehow she sensed he was about to die, even though there were no outward signs of it. So she stayed with him. And he did not wake up, so he did not have to face being alone or knowing what was about to happen. I am so thankful for all of these things, and that he has been spared the future that was coming. I am thankful for the time I had to get to know him as I never had earlier in life, and for whatever comfort I was able to bring him in that place.
My tears are for the passing of a much-loved generation. May we live up to their example.